Talented local footballer Luke Swales has been crowned Hartlepool’s sports personality of the year for 2023.
The former High Tunstall College of Science student, a Pools Youth FC player, pipped weightlifter Harvey Cornforth to the honour at the Gus Robinson Hartlepool Sport Awards on Wednesday night.
Luke was selected for England Colleges' U19s as well as the Durham county squad. He played three times in Italy too and as a defensive midfielder for Hartlepool Sixth Form College he earned England trials.
The Awards was a fantastic occasion attended by more than 200 people at Hartlepool College of Further Education and Luke was recognised in a similar fashion to how superstar boxer Savannah Marshall and top-class football official Gary Beswick have in the past.
Carl Jorgeson, the chief operating officer of the event’s driving supporter the PFC Trust, said: "What a night. It was the first time we have held the awards since it was decided to rename it in memory of the late Gus Robinson and I’m sure he would have been proud.
“The occasion was a fitting way to celebrate the achievements of Luke as Sports Personality of the Year, but also everyone else who was shortlisted or claimed one of the eight awards.
“These awards, which have always been known as the Hartlepool Sports Council Awards, are in its 44th year and they are a fantastic way to celebrate the fantastic sporting achievements across Hartlepool’s clubs and schools.
“They are also a brilliant way to celebrate all of the work that our town’s vast number of volunteers and coaches do to develop talent and provide platforms to gather, socialise, compete and shine in our community sports. Well done to everyone involved.”
Carl helped to hand over the awards on the night while Shaun Hope, the PFC Trust's chairman and Hartlepool College’s assistant principal, hosted the evening.
Nominations were vast this year, so much so that a decision was made to crown all four shortlisted contenders as winners in both the Primary and Secondary Rising Star Awards.
Beatrice Close (Greatham FC), Samuel Wright (Athletics), Oliver Thornton (Hartlepool Wadokai) and Perrin Jorgeson (Hartlepool Wadokai) won the Primary award.
And Amy Hurst (Hartlepool CC), Thomas Robson (Hartlepool Athletics), Noah Parkes (Hartlepool Wadokai) and Bella Hope (Amy Richardson’s Dance) won the Secondary equivalent.
Karate club Hartlepool Wadokai were named the Outstanding Club of the Year ahead of Hartlepool Rugby Club, while West Hartlepool 1st XV were named the Outstanding Team of the Year ahead of FC Hartlepool’s first team.
The Keith Hewitson Volunteer of the Year was Hartlepool Rugby Club’s Liam Lester and he edged out runner-up Sarah Wilkinson from Hartlepool Wadokai.
There was recognition for Hartlepool Cricket Club’s Dave Thompson, who won the Services to Sport Award ahead of Manilla Cycling’s Adam Brooks.
And KR Dance Studios’ Kim Ross was crowned Coach of the Year ahead of Hartlepool St Francis’ Nathan Rowe.
The Gus Robinson Hartlepool Sport Awards were held in association with sponsors The PFC Trust, the Gus Robinson Foundation, Hartlepool Sport, Hartlepool Borough Council and Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Pictures: Michael Gant